As I have shared before Eric and I volunteer with our church's special needs ministry called the Love Department. Each week Eric, myself, and a bunch of other wonderful volunteers serve on average, about 75 adults and sometimes children. It is set up to be like a mini church service with a time of worship, teaching, prayer, and then we break out into Sunday school classes. I'm not going to lie my favorite part of Sunday mornings is worshipping with these amazing folks; there is nothing like it in the whole world!
|Jeremiah also snapped a picture of his daddy sharing the main lesson. You know, every week that I watch my husband minister to our special friends I grow to love him even more. The love that he has for the Love Department is truly a gift.|
This morning, however, something very special happened and not during our normal Love Department time. It happened at the end of the main Sunday morning service. Each week one of our Love Department members, Donald, would go up front for prayer and would always make his rounds to the various Pastors and Deacons standing at the front during the end of the service. We had even been told a few times to discourage Donald from going up week after week. Now I do not share this to say that anyone in our church was being ugly towards Donald. I think sometimes we can very easily forget that our special friends need prayer, seek God, and desire to walk with Jesus. So this morning when Donald made his way up front for prayer I smiled and was eager to see what was about to take place. Usually another one of the Love Department members would try to grab Donald before he made his way up front. But this morning Donald made it up front and before we knew it there were 3 Deacons gathered around him. Then suddenly they motioned for Eric to come up, too. The men gathered around Donald and prayed for him and I could see that the group of men were moved. Eric, Donald, and another Love Department member, Aaron, then returned to the pews with Donald and had their arms around him. Curious as to what happened I scooted down to where they were to inquire and was extremely moved by what I heard: Donald accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior! Tears sprang to my eyes. My heart was so moved to see an older gentleman with Down Syndrome make such a profound and important decision. Individuals with special needs require a Savior just like you and me! The Pastor had seen everything take place and at the very end had our friend, Aaron, (another grown man with Down Syndrome who dreams of being a Pastor) introduce Donald to the entire church. My heart swelled with joy and love during that most special moment. My eyes also became very wet.
As the service came to a close and everyone began to head to their various Sunday School classes, Eric said he had a great idea for when we got over to the Love Department. During his time of teaching he taught on the subject of forgiveness. Everyone was listening intently so Eric also shared how Donald asked Jesus for forgiveness and to be his Lord and Savior. Donald stood up and everyone cheered and clapped for him- you could see the joy on Donald's face. Eric went one step further and shared that anyone could ask Jesus for forgiveness and to be their Savior. Six members of the Love Department went forward to ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior! After we prayed together everyone wanted to sing their favorite song. What a beautiful moment of worship! Week after week I am amazed at how God moves among our friends and how God uses them to share the love of Jesus. Those of us who volunteer are convinced that THEY teach US more than we teach them.
I do not share this to boast about what Eric and I do, rather, I share this as a very real reminder that individuals with special needs need Jesus just like you and me. They long for a close, intimate relationship with a Savior, just like you and me. Many of them are able to make that decision, just like you and me. Don't ever shy away from sharing your faith with your friends who have special needs because you never know- they just may be waiting for someone to lead them to the Lord.
The above video is of the Love Department's favorite song. I can safely say that singing this song with them after such a powerful morning was just about the sweetest time of worship I have ever had. Some Sunday I will try to get a video of us singing this song.
I cannot wait until Channah experience worship with us!